However, while these environments are beloved for the flexibility, scalability and potential cost efficiencies they offer, Jayne Radbone, Senior Product Manager for Telstra Cloud Services says that many organisations are struggling to effectively manage their portfolio.
“A lot of our customers, as they move into a self-directed journey and ownership of their own cloud, have experienced the common pitfalls of cost escalation, compliance issues and security issues,” says Radbone.
This feedback and insight from our customers is what led to the development of Telstra Cloud Sight, an automated cloud management toolkit which helps businesses effectively build their cloud accounts, as well as monitor, maintain and optimise their cloud cost, compliance and security.
Telstra Cloud Sight currently supports Amazon Web Services, with support for Microsoft Azure being integrated at the end of the year.
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4 steps to radically simplify your public cloud management
Step 1: Clean Account Builds
Setting up your accounts correctly from the get-go will avoid headaches down the line. The overhead of keeping up with the incredible pace of change can be taxing for businesses adopting cloud services, e.g. in 2017 alone, Amazon added more than 1,000 new features to AWS.
“One of the main things we hear from customers when they start theirAWS journey is: ‘it's not necessarily clear what should and shouldn’t be enabled’,” says Matthew Merriel, AWS Solution Architect for Kloud.
To assist users as they setup new environments, Telstra Cloud Sight provides “guard rails”, which can range from “gentle reminders” highlighting best practice through to pre-configured compliance profiles.
“We've taken a lot of work off our customers who’re looking for assistance with compliance standards, by codifying them into automated blueprints,” says Radbone. “Whether you are required to comply with CIS, HIPAA or PCI, with Cloud Sight you can select a blueprint which automatically applies a set of measures to help keep your cloud account compliant with your chosen industry standard.”
Step 2: Make your setup repeatable
The second step in simplifying your cloud management is taking those learnings from provisioning your account (step 1), ensuring you've got the right control sets in place, and making it repeatable.
“It’s about codifying your learnings and making it automated,” says Radbone.
Drawing on previously configured blueprints to assist in the deployment of new services doesn’t just save time and resources, but crucially, it minimises the possibility of human error. This is particularly important as by 2020, it’s estimated that 80% of cloud breaches will be a result of mismanagement, misconfiguration or insider theft.
Step 3: Ongoing maintenance
The third step, and for many cloud users primary hindrance to getting more from cloud, is to gain ongoing visibility and monitoring of cloud cost, compliance and security across multiple environments.
“Probably one of the top concerns among cloud users is the unexpected escalation of costs, as it can be tough to keep track of what's happening across several accounts,” says Radbone. To help businesses manage costs, Cloud Sight allows customers to implement budgets (for accounts or individual projects), and alerts users when the set budget threshold is exceeded, allowing them to quickly take action and prevent overspend.
“In addition to budget control Cloud Sight offers numerous cost-saving opportunities off the bat, such as resource scheduling, enabling you to start up or shut down your boxes automatically, ensuring you’re not paying for hours you’re not using,” says Merriel.
Step 4: Actionable intelligence
The final step is using the tools you have to not only extract, but action the intelligence and recommendations to make a real impact and radically simplify your cloud management.
Cloud Sight has been designed from the ground up, says Radbone, to deliver a “comprehensive perspective” of an organisation’s cloud posture, to make it “much simpler” to understand what’s going on.
“It's a one-stop portal so you can actually see what recommended steps you need to take to manage your cost controls; to keep your compliance controls; to keep your cloud under control,” she says.
In addition to exposing the key information organisations need to make decisions, Cloud Sight has also been integrated into sophisticated cloud analysis tools, such as RightScale.
“Over time we enact a relationship with our cost engine, RightScale, which does a deep analytical layout of what's going on in your cost base,” says Radbone. “It then writes a set of recommendations about how you can actually improve your costs and a remediation plan to work through to bring your costs down as much as realistically possible.”
“Telstra Cloud Sight is designed for anything from a small startup company that needs a single web server right through to a company with tens or hundreds of workloads. It can be as aggressive or as easy going as you need it to be. Because it doesn't stand between you and leveraging the AWS services, it enables you to grow as far as you need to grow.”– Matthew Merriel, AWS Solution Architect for Kloud.